Hill despairs as 'goal' blunder puts QPR backs against wall
Published 12/03/2012 | 05:00
Bolton Wanderers 2 Queens Park Rangers 1
Life is rarely straightforward at Queens Park Rangers, as anyone who saw the 'Four Year Plan' documentary charting the tumultuous ownership of Flavio Briatore will testify, but even by their standards this was the cruellest twist.
The horrendous error by assistant referee Bob Pollock in failing to award Clint Hill his first Premier League goal, despite the ball crossing the line by almost two feet, not only dropped Rangers into the bottom three but could have inflicted irreperable damage to the self-belief of Mark Hughes. As Hill noted ruefully, survival now would represent a "massive achievement".
Saturday's controversy centred on Rangers' 19th-minute corner, which saw Hill connect powerfully with Joey Barton's cross. The ball clearly crossed the line before it was scooped out but both referee Martin Atkinson and Pollock waved play on.
Pollock was seen telling Atkinson that he could not see through the scrum of players in the penalty box but that explanation failed to appease Rangers manager Hughes or his players.
It would be a surprise if Pollock did not pay a price for his mistake, especially as it was his second high-profile error of the season -- he also wrongly disallowed a crucial strike by Tottenham's Emmanuel Adebayor at Stoke in December.
Hill was doing his best to be magnanimous in the aftermath, but his agony was all too apparent, especially as Rangers now face six of the league's top seven sides with 10 games remaining.
"You try all your career to get into this league and I thought I had opened my account," Hill said.
"I knew straight away. You could even see it by the reaction of their team that it was a goal. Every little thing seems to be going against us at the moment.
"You do look at everything -- every decision, every mistake, missed tackle or opportunity -- and think 'if only that had gone our way'.
"But at the end of the day you are there because of the games you've played. The league table doesn't lie and we haven't been good enough for whatever reason."
Together with goalscorer Djibril Cisse, who was offside when he waited for Shaun Wright-Phillips's pass, Hill was one of only two players in the QPR team that appeared up for the challenge.
Bolton, meanwhile, secured the points thanks to the head of Darren Pratley and the left boot of Ivan Klasnic and looked more at ease with their own relegation predicament throughout.
Ryo Miyaichi, the Japanese winger on loan from Arsenal, was outstanding and he teed up Klasnic for the winner. (© Daily Telegraph, London)